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E-residency applications surge leading up to UK triggering Article 50

Estonia's e-residency is proving increasingly popular.
Estonia's e-residency is proving increasingly popular. Source: (Enterprise Estonia)

According to a press release by Enterprise Estonia, an increasing number of Brits are applying for Estonian e-residency. In the week British prime minister Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, formally starting the process of the United Kingdom’s leaving the EU, the program has 988 applications from UK citizens and is likely to hit 1,000 over the next few days.

Applications from the UK were continuing to arrive twice as frequently as before the referendum, the e-residency program’s communications director, Adam Rang, said on Monday. This had followed an initial surge from 3 to 51 applications per week immediately after the vote. More than half of all applications from the UK, 534 to be exact, had arrived since the vote, while 231 had arrived in the same period leading up to it.

According to Rang, British e-residents are currently using the programme for an enormous range of business interests, from developing video games and blockchain applications to providing consulting services to clients across Europe and the world.

In response to the rising demand, the program has opened a website aimed at British entrepreneurs. explains how businesses and freelancers can use the e-residency to continue their operations in the EU without leaving the United Kingdom despite Brexit.

In a recent speech, President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid spoke to Estonians about the need to support the nation’s e-residents, and commented as an example that “the English entrepreneur afraid of Brexit can find shelter from the storm here”.

Estonia is the first country in the world to provide e-residency, which it launched on Dec. 2, 2014. E-residency is a state-issued secure digital identity for non-residents that allows people living abroad to operate in Estonia's e-environment and use e-services on par with Estonian residents.

E-residency is a service provided by the Government of the Republic of Estonia, however it does not bring with it physical residency rights or the right of entry to Estonia or the EU. E-residency likewise does not entail any residential or citizen rights and cannot be used as a physical identification card or travel document.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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